Whenever so much time goes by between posts (so, basically, any time I post nowadays), I'm never sure if I ought to be writing about something, or catching up on all the somethings that have happened since the last update. I suppose I should know by now that the answer is: yes. In other words ... just write.
My niece graduated high school, and leaves for college in a couple of weeks. This seems crazy to me, but it's true. I hope everything goes well for her. My college experience was great, and I met some of my closest friends during those years. Sometimes, though, I look back at all the growing up I've done since I graduated - how much less stress I feel over certain things, how much more independent I've become - and wish I could somehow transfer a bit of this life experience to the 18-year-old me leaving home for longer than a week for the first time. I think my niece is already more independent than I was at her age, so she's in good shape.
I'm into vegetables lately. I have a half share in a CSA, which means that every other Wednesday I receive a box of fresh produce from a local farm, and then race against the clock for the next five or six days to use it all before it goes bad. I enjoy the challenge, and it's led to some pleasing recipe discoveries. You can use grated turnips and radishes to make delicious hash browns! Cabbage, onions and turnips sauteed with a little bit of sugar make a wonderful side dish with some crumbled bacon. (I've had a lot of turnips.) The past few weeks have been the best, yielding many veggies that don't really need recipes - just some steaming, boiling, or baking (or simply peeling), and a little seasoning, to be perfect. Eggplant, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli shoots, carrots, and sweet corn, not to mention strawberries and melons. I'm also a devoted patron of the Dane County Farmer's Market. I've been known to brave a Saturday morning rainstorm to score fresh heirloom tomatoes (and maybe the occasional spicy cheese empanada).
My concert and travel schedule so far hasn't matched the intensity of past years, but I've done my share. Freshman roomie Jenny and I saw Mason Jennings back in April. Solid Sound Fest in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in June. Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and Richard Thompson in Chicago in July. The National in Milwaukee just this past Monday. And more to come! I also formally applied for my sabbatical next spring, so, if and when that application is approved, I can start planning in earnest. It's been too long since my last trip abroad. I suppose there's nothing stopping me from going somewhere sooner, albeit not for 2+ weeks. I'm holding onto a vague hope that I'll have cause to use some vacation days on a trip to California in December, but if not, I'm sure I could put those days to good use elsewhere.
Spring 'n' Summer grab bag: